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The exhibit, organized by the University's Institute of Contemporary Art, was displayed at the ICA's Meyerson Hall gallery last year with little controversy. However, the exhibit, which was funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, met sharp criticism when it went on display in Washington, D.C. last summer, and has met further opposition in Cincinnati, a city with a strong anti-pornography lobby. Cincinnati's police departent had threatened to seize obscene photographs from the exhibit, but a judge last week ordered the police not to confiscate anything until a jury had ruled on the obscenity charges. Attorney H. Louis Sirkin entered the plea in Hamilton County Municipal Court on behalf of the center and director Dennis Barrie. The court's assignment commissioner referred the case for trial to Municipal Judge David Albanese and scheduled a pre-trial hearing April 30, when a trial date may be set. The date must be set within 90 days. A Hamilton County grand jury indicted the gallery and Barrie on April 7. Five of the 175 photos in the exhibit show homosexual acts and two show children revealing their genitals. Lawyers filed the pleas about two hours before a scheduled arraignment before Municipal Judge Dennis Helmick in the Hamilton County Justice Center, said Martin Pinales, an attorney in the firm handling the case. The exhibit has been drawing large crowds -- more than 23,000 during its first week -- and is scheduled to continue through May 26 before moving on to Boston. Hamilton County Prosecutor Arthur Ney handed over prosecution to the city of Cincinnati last week, saying Ohio law prohibits him from prosecuting misdemeanors. Some city officials accused Ney of getting rid of a case too hot to handle and too flimsy to prosecute. ''We can't dictate to the city solicitor whether or not to proceed with the case, but we can certainly make our views known,'' said Councilman Peter Strauss. ''I personally think they are going to have a hard time making a case that the show in its entirety lacks artistic value.'' -- By Jeremy Selwyn and The Associated Press

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